Glen Chapple claimed five wickets and Oliver Newby made key contributions with bat and ball as Lancashire secured a place in the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals with an 18-run win over Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Evergreen skipper Chapple returned 5-26 as the home side were bowled out for 164, James Fuller making a valiant 43. But Newby was equally responsible for his side’s success.
First the 27-year-old seamer, who has been guesting for Lytham this season, hit a top score of 36 not out, batting at nine, to boost Lancashire’s total from a meagre 117-7to 18-9 after winning the toss, Ed Young taking 3-25.
Newby then claimed the important wicket of Alex Gidman (36) just as the Gloucestershire skipper was threatening to rescue his side from a poor start.
The result puts Lancashire on 16 points in Group A, with two matches still to play, and meant they cannot be overtaken. It also eliminated Gloucestershire, who are on 11 points, with only one game left.
It looked good for the home side when their opponents collapsed from 63-1to 117-7 thanks largely to a series of loose shots.
But Newby came in to hit three fours and a six, sharing a stand of 37 for the ninth wicket with Stephen Parry, who made 12.
Skipper Chapple contributed a useful 16 towards the end of the Lancashire innings and the 38-year-old veteran then blew away Gloucestershire’s top order, sending back Rob Nicol, Benny Howell and Dan Housego in taking three for eight from four overs.
Ajmal Shahzad had already seen off Hamish Marshall and at 16-4the hosts were in disarray.
But Alex Gidman was looking a real danger to Lancashire when Newby had him picked up at cover, having faced only 26 balls.